How To Get From Skopje To Pristina (And From Pristina To Skopje)

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How To Get From Skopje To Pristina (And From Pristina To Skopje)

One of the great benefits of traveling around the Balkans is that you can visit several countries in one trip. The easiest way is city hopping between capital cities, which usually have the best transportation connections. A trip between Skopje and Pristina, for example, lets you explore and discover one of the Balkans’ most underrated countries—North Macedonia and Kosovo.

This capital-to-capital journey brings you from one of Europe’s oldest capitals to the main city in Europe’s youngest country (although there’s some dispute about that latter statement).

Skopje has one of the oldest stone bridges in Europe, a bustling Old Bazaar, a historic fortress and easy access to spectacular nature. It’s a beautiful place to spend a few days before heading to what’s arguably Southern Europe’s least-known capital: Pristina.

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Also written as Prishtina, Pristina is the largest and capital city of Kosovo, a country that’s recognized by most other countries, though not by Serbia, which still claims it as one of its own regions. Its origins dating back to Ancient Roman times, the city now features a fascinating combination of ancient and modern.

You can visit a wonderful ethnographic museum and the Imperial Mosque, stroll through the Bazaar of Pristina and see the extraordinary National Library of Kosovo. Other monuments and architectural landmarks, as well as nearby natural attractions, make a visit to Pristina an activity worth considering!

So, how exactly do you get from Skopje to Pristina, or from Pristina to Skopje?

3 Options To Travel From Skopje To Pristina (And Vice Versa)

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Here are three ways you can travel between Skope and Pristina.

Skopje To Pristina By Bus

There seems to be a consensus that, as far as public transportation from Skopje to Pristina goes, the bus is your best option. International bus connections between both cities are easy, fast and available multiple times per day.

The beauty of traveling around the ex-Yugoslavian countries is that almost all major cities have just one main bus station. So, you don’t have to stress out about figuring out which station you’re supposed to be at. That also applies to Skopje and Pristina. Both cities have one main bus station, which is super-convenient.

The distance between the two capitals is only about 90 kilometers, a journey that takes 2 hours, give or take.

To get a ticket, simply walk up to the counter and tell them you’d like to travel to Pristina (or Skopje depending on the direction you’re going to). Prices tend to vary, but don’t typically exceed €10 for a one-way trip. Often, they’re much lower.

Obviously, this journey involves a border crossing, which used to sometimes be a pain in the butt in the Balkans. However, nowadays most Balkan border crossings are a breeze. When you travel from Skopje to Pristina by bus, you shouldn’t have to spend more than about 10 minutes at the checkpoint, provided that you have a valid passport, of course.

Skopje To Pristina By Train

If you’re a huge fan of railroad travel, you also have the option to travel from Skopje to Pristina by train. However, unlike the numerous daily bus departures, there’s only one train from Skopje to Kosovo per day, as well as vice versa.

You have to buy your Skopje-Pristina (or vice versa) train ticket at your departure station. There is currently no online reservation system for these international trains.

The train journey between North Macedonia’s and Kosovo’s capital takes about 3 hours.

Self-Drive From Skopje To Pristina

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If you’re looking for a way to get from Skopje to Pristina to offers more freedom than buses or trains do, nothing’s better than renting a car. With your own set of wheels, you can go, stop and do as you please. A side trip to one of the amazing Kosovo national parks, for example, comes highly recommended.

The drive from Skopje to Pristina is a piece of cake. Without any detours, it’s only 90 kilometers. From the North Macedonian capital, you’ll be at the Kosovar border in 30 minutes, after which it’s about 1 hour to Pristina.

If you rent your car with a major reputable rental agency, they’ll make sure you won’t have any insurance issues at the border. Do double-check with them, though, that they actually allow you to take a rental car across international borders in the Balkans. Some companies might not.

Generally speaking, however, there shouldn’t be any problems driving from Skopje to Pristina and back with a rental car, if you’ve got proof and confirmation from the rental company. Crossing the border is typically very easy—this is, after all, not exactly Europe’s most popular border. Just make sure you have the proper documentation, including a valid passport, driver’s license and car rental info.

Entering And Leaving Kosovo Legally

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Because Kosovo is not (yet) recognized as an independent country by several nations, including neighboring Serbia, traveling to and from Kosovo via certain routes may cause some complications. Specifically, when you’d like to travel to Serbia from Kosovo, you need to take extra care planning your trip, especially your entry points.

You can read more about how to enter and leave Kosovo legally in this in-depth blog post.

If you’re just traveling between Skopje and Pristina as short trips, returning the same way, there will be zero issues, though.

Do you have experience traveling from Skopje to Pristina or from Pristina to Skopje? Tell everyone about your trip in the comments below!

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